Re: [xmca] Correct unit of analysis for human activity (in games)

From: Polin, Linda (
Date: Fri Mar 10 2006 - 13:22:01 PST

yeah, like Bill said...



On Mar 10, 2006, at 8:13 AM, bb wrote:

> I could argue that, given the multiple timescales of the human
> condition
> (lemke), and how culture plays a role in psychology, crossing
> timescales,
> (e.g. the description of prolepsis in 'cultural psychology"), and the
> description by Leont'ev of the "hierarchical structure of
> activity", plus the
> historical analysis included in Engestrom's expansive methodology,
> that one
> would abductively think multiple units of analysis, crossing at
> least many
> timescales, if not also some scales along other dimensions, could be
> desireable and even practicable. This methodological potential seems
> embedded in the CHA of CHAT.
> Practically, multiply scaled units of analysis are useful only if
> such
> methods coincide with the goals of the intended study.
> I'm sorry I cannot add more -- it's just a passing thought, a
> humble opinion.
> And I have no formal training, so take it for what it's worth.
> bb
> On Friday 10 March 2006 3:55 am, Patrik Bergman wrote:
>> Hi,
>> Perhaps you have all gone through this debate before, but I will
>> give it
>> try: What do you consider being the correct unit of analysis for
>> understanding human activity? I am reading the works of Yrjö
>> Engeström
>> quite a lot now and he states that the prime unit of analysis is a
>> collective, artefact-mediated and object-oriented activity system.
>> Others,
>> such as James Wertsch, state the correct unit is an individual
>> acting with
>> mediational means. Meantime, Mike has for example stated that
>> “Mediated
>> action and its activity context are two moments of a single
>> process, and
>> whatever we want to specify as psychological processes is but a
>> moment of
>> their combined properties.”, which to me sounds like something in the
>> middle of Engeström’s and Wertsch’s descriptions.
>> PhD student that I am, I might be totally off track here, but it
>> would be
>> interesting to hear your views on this since I am thinking about
>> this in
>> relation to studying the online game World of Warcraft as a learning
>> environment. As far as I can see, it can have large effects on a
>> study if
>> one chooses to study individuals and their meditational means,
>> compared to
>> also incorporating the whole activity system (including its history).
>> Best,
>> Patrik Bergman
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